The DREAM (Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors)
Many say the DREAM Act does nothing more than cheapen the American citizenship process and hurt those who have honestly entered the process, filed their paperwork, waited in line, learned English, studied American civics- and ended their arduous task with a U.S. Naturalization ceremony. Achieving the dream of becoming an American citizen is a process, one that means something, but it also means becoming an American.
The United States is one of only a few countries that offer a unique proposition of shedding an old life and truly becoming American with all its stars and stripes. It’s a privilege – not a given.
However, regarding the DREAM Act many Democrats are operating under the premise that it is not fair to punish children for the actions of their parents, therefore, illegal kids deserve a chance to achieve the American dream. Along with the dream they expect reduced tuition rates, something not afforded to all American children. It’s not about the money, it’s the money.
But what happens when children of all persuasions reach adulthood? Do they become bank robbers if that’s the family trade? Or are they held accountable for their actions whatever those actions might be? The greatest gift this country has is the ability to be something or nothing.
Just get into a cab in Washington D.C. and ask the driver about his American dream. “Well, what I love about this country is you can be a loser, party and live in a box if you want. Or you can work your ass off (excuse me) at a couple of jobs, learn the language, go to college and be successful. There aren’t many places in the world you can do that in and I love being an American,” said one cabbie from Ghana.
The cab driver explains in great length the years he waited to enter the country, how hard he worked to learn the language and the fact he may be able to help his family once he becomes successful in his new country. He explains that he came here with nothing and he doesn’t expect “America to give him any money, just a chance.”
It’s true illegal adults and their children continue to live in limbo in the United States. While it may have been a parents’ decision to stay illegally in America, when these kids grow up it becomes their responsibility to gain legal status.
Some immigration experts contend that if children in this “legal limbo” wish to return to their home country and apply for a student visa and legally accept a university’s offer to become a student, these children should take advantage of this legal process.
“As a consequence of lobbying by colleges and universities, there are essentially unlimited numbers of student visas granted. Thus, the scenario of an illegal alien student leaving the U.S. and returning via a student visa is plausible,” says immigration expert Gene Nelson Ph.D. “It is likely that the illegal alien student would then be liable to pay out of state tuition (something all foreign students must do until they establish legal residence). However, I note that the state of California just liberalized the treatment of all illegal alien students by passing their own version of the DREAM Act and offering in-state tuition for illegals. Nevertheless, I think it is likely that the California law will be appealed to the United States Supreme Court.”
Groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) point out that these “in limbo” young adults have many options. “They have the opportunity to go home (to their home country) or they can go to college if they pay out of state tuition rates. Also many minority and poor people use the military as a way to get out of the ghettos and spend their time in the military to earn the right to use a GI bill and then pursue college,” says Susan Tully of FAIR.
However a few strings come with the military GI Bill. Once service members enter college, the military monitors their grades and courses. If a student begins to drop or fail classes the military pulls the purse strings and they no longer receive their college benefits. It is unclear if the DREAM Act ensures these same checks and balances, but illegal alien students do not have to finish an education program in order to qualify for legal status.
Logically it makes sense for illegal young adults to start their grown up lives on the right foot and America loves the underdog. Perhaps groups like La Raza and Centers for American Progress could set up college tuition scholarship funds for these young adults who enter the country with a legal student visa and seek to grab their portion of the American dream.
However, once again a bankrupt Washington D.C. is not offering a real solution for young adults trapped in a legal immigration quagmire. Again they want to reward illegal behavior with citizenship and in-state tuition no matter a person’s legal status.
The DREAM Act would provide illegal aliens in-state tuition, even when it is not being offered to U.S. citizens and legally present aliens living just across state lines. Section 3 of the DREAM Act repeals Section 505 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1623) prohibits giving education benefits to an unlawfully present individual unless that same benefit is offered to all U.S. citizens. This glimpse into the unfairness of the DREAM Act came from a press release from Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL).
American students would also have to fight with illegal alien children for the limited money and grants available for college tuition. Colleges are raising fees every semester to keep up with the cost of living and many have stalled or reduced the student acceptance rates for financial reasons. Colleges are operating at capacity.
“Section 10 of the DREAM Act allows illegal aliens amnestied under the bill’s provisions to qualify for federal student assistance under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001 et seq.) in the form of federal student loans (Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, Federal Direct Stafford/Ford Loans), federal work-study programs, and other federal education services such as tutoring and counseling,” the statement from Sessions said. This would all but ensure that some U.S. students would lose the ability to achieve their dream of college.
Leaders in President Obama’s cabinet like Celica Munoz, director of the Intergovernmental Affairs office have been making the rounds with conference calls, action plans and coordinating White House staff to urge Congress to pass the DREAM Act legislation during the lame duck session because they still have the numbers needed to pass any bill.
Munoz’s mantra during the conference calls has been “all hands on deck, call members of Congress and put a human face to the DREAM Act.”
She even replied to a question from a listener on the White House Live session regarding the President’s ability to just unilaterally sign the DREAM Act into law. “Unfortunately the law doesn’t allow the President to override the Congress,” Munoz answered.
Other prominent members of Obama’s team like U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan have hammered the point that the DREAM Act is a win, win proposition for America. “For our young people, for our country, for our country’s economy, we desperately need to pass the DREAM Act,” Duncan said during a conference call hosted by Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. “We have a chance to do it now in the lame-duck session. And I simply don’t think we can afford to wait.”
Another main topic used by the left to garner support for the DREAM Act is the military. The arguments that the military is in need of more recruits because America is fighting two wars in the Middle East are weaved into every conference call
Yet, these talking points are simply unfounded.
The military already has rules in place to accept non-citizens into the military. In fact the Armed Forces currently accept thousands of Filipinos, Latin Americans and other nationalities into the armed services. Many of these recruits are given citizenship within six months.
According to a Department of Defense press release regarding “recruitment and retention rates” through October 2011, the military has at least a 100 percent rating in all branches of service with the Army edging out its compatriots with a 103 percent recruitment ratio.
The numbers only get better when it comes to retention rates. The figures varied from 100 percent (the low, Navy) to the high of 130 percent (the Marines). In fact beginning with the 2012 budget the military will begin mandatory implementation of a 10 percent cut across the board, according to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.
While it is widely believed that the DREAM Act will fail in the lame duck session, Americans should take the time to learn the pros and cons of such a bill because this legislation has been pulled off the shelf over the last 10 years and will continue to be a hot-button topic until the U.S. illegal immigration problem is solved.
© Copyrighted 2010 Kimberly Dvorak all rights reserved
It’s like reading a who’s who in American politics, as WikiLeaks published more than 250,000 State Department documents mostly dealing with the two wars in the Middle East.
Names like President Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and General Petraeus are on the country’s heavy hitter list and latest targets of intelligence documents released by the new “go to” sensational website WikiLeaks. http://cablegate.wikileaks.org/
Major news organizations like the New York Times and Britain’s Guardian have already posted stories highlighting many classified State Department cables- some the Obama Administration claim will endanger current and past government officials and diplomats.
As a result the White House released a statement following the latest WikiLeaks document dump. “President Obama supports responsible, accountable, and open government at home and around the world, but this reckless and dangerous action runs counter to that goal.” It continued to articulate that, “By releasing stolen and classified documents, WikiLeaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights but also the lives and work of these individuals.”
Some of the notable communiqué’s include;
* Corruption with the Afghanistan government, including reports of a senior official found carrying more than $50 million in cash on an overseas trip; also a cable reveals that President Karzai’s brother involvement with illicit drugs and said he “demonstrated that he will dissemble when it suits his needs. He appears not to understand the level of our knowledge of his activities. We will need to monitor his activity closely and deliver a recurring, transparent message to him about the limits of American tolerance.”
* It appears there was substantial bargaining to vacate Guantanamo Bay prison. The cable even shows the Obama Administration telling Slovenian diplomats to take a freed prisoner if they expected a meeting with President Obama.
* The Bush Administration was caught warning Germany in 2007 not to enforce arrest warrants for Central Intelligence Agency employees.
* Cables displayed Iran’s efforts to adapt North Korean long-range missiles.
* Another cable reveals Secretary of State Hillary Clinton telling U.S. officials to spy on the UN’s leadership.
* Perhaps most unnerving is the extremely close relationship between Russian Prime Minister Putin and his Italian counterpart Berlusconi and the fact the Italian leader was promoting Putin’s policies.
* The leaks also alleged a number of links between the Russian government and organized crime.
* Surprisingly WikiLeaks reveals Yemen’s president talking to then U.S. Middle East Commander General Petraeus about attacks on al-Qaeda bases in Yemen and quoting; “We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours.”
* The leaks also reveal the failure of the U.S. to stop Syria from supplying arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
* Allowing the “business as usual” methods in the fight against terrorism took center stage by allowing Saudi donors to remain the chief financiers of Sunni militant groups like al Qaeda and Qatar. Both countries have been good hosts to the American military, but WikiLeaks cables allude to the fact they were the “worst in the region” in counterterrorism efforts.
* WikiLeaks contends that Qatar’s security service was “hesitant to act against known terrorists out of concern for appearing to be aligned with the U.S. and provoking reprisals.”
* The U.S. ambassador to Eritrea said last year “Eritrean officials are ignorant or lying” in denying that they were supporting the al-Shabaab, a militant-wing Islamist group in Somalia. There have been several recent arrests in San Diego of al-Shabaab sympathizers sending money to the North African terrorist organization.
Most of the documents released from WikiLeaks were unclassified and they claim none of the memos were marked “top secret,” which is the U.S. government’s secure category. However WikiLeaks admits some of the leaked documents were classified as “secret.”
Another 9,000 cables were labeled “noforn,” which is shorthand for material that is too delicate to mutually share with foreign governments.
As information begins to circulate and the war-time leaks make the international rounds, the State Department, Pentagon and White House will most likely have a lot of explaining to do- not something a battered Obama Administration looks forward to defending.
© Copyright 2010Kimberly Dvorak all rights reserved
The liberal, albeit much poorer suburb of San Francisco is making a strong effort to issue identification cards for those in the country illegally, the card will also double as an ATM.
According to city officials, the ID card would assist illegal aliens who have a tough time obtaining proper identification. The city contracted out the ID card service to a private company who will present their plan and start issuing state IDs at no cost to the city of Oakland.
The city council claims the new program will help residents, including those in the country illegally, get documentation to prove their identity. The cards would be valid to use wherever other state ID is required.
In an interesting twist the Oakland ID card would also double as an ATM card. The purpose of this addition to give illegal aliens the ability to use the card and avoid the use of “payday or check cashing” services that often charge very high fees.
“This will probably be the most advanced municipal ID in the country,” explained Mayor-elect Jean Quan.
Oakland councilwoman Nancy Nadel added that “we wanted to make sure that it’s not just another way of identifying people who don’t have documentation.”
Oakland will now join cities like San Francisco and Washington D.C. in offering more incentive for illegal immigrants to continue to enter the country illegally and skirt America’s overly burdened immigration process.
© Copyrighted 2010 Kimberly Dvorak all rights reserved
U.S. authorities have reported that a second smuggling tunnel has been uncovered along the Mexican border in San Diego. At least four people were arrested in connection with the tunnel along with a significant amount of marijuana.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that the smuggling tunnel was discovered on Thanksgiving when most Americans were watching football games and eating turkey dinners.
The tunnel itself runs approximately a half-mile in length and started in a Tijuana, Mexico residence and led to a warehouse in Otay Mesa, California.
The San Diego Tunnel Task Force will investigate the details regarding the underground passageway and are working hand-in-hand with Mexican authorities to nab more cartel criminals. The task force is made up of agents from ICE, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
San Diego federal authorities recently discovered a 600- yard long tunnel used to smuggle humans and illicit drugs from Mexico into America on November 2.
The tunnel linked the two countries as builders were able to dig underneath the U.S. border which gave smugglers the ability to use two warehouses, one in Tijuana, Mexico and the other in San Diego as their entry and exit points.
A multi-agency tunnel task force also snagged more than 20 tons of marijuana that was set to make its way into the United States illegal drug market.
The underground tunnel was well equipped, complete with a rail transportation system, lighting and ventilation, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Even though the tunnel used sophisticated construction, it wasn’t large enough for a person to stand up and walk the entire 600-yards.
The tunnel was located after multi-task force agents conducted surveillance on a semi-truck and trailer that was leaving a warehouse near the U.S. border.
Authorities followed the truck to a Border Patrol checkpoint in Temecula on highway 15. At the Border Patrol check point agents searched the truck and found 10 tons of marijuana inside, Amy Roderick of ICE said at a press conference. She said the driver and a passenger were taken into custody and are expected to face multiple federal drug smuggling charges.
Following the seizure, task force agents obtained a search warrant for the warehouse and found the tunnel, according to Roderick.
Once the U.S. warehouse was located ICE alerted Mexican authorities and they found another four tons of marijuana in the Tijuana warehouse where the tunnel ended. Roderick said, the marijuana recovered totaled almost 30 tons and has a street value of at least $20 million.
“What’s unusual about this one is the amount of marijuana found as part of this investigation,” ICE spokesperson Lauren Mack said. “There’s been some pretty big drug busts and we’re not letting our guard down.”
American law enforcement agencies continue to work with their counterparts in Mexico to slow the trafficking of drugs, humans, money and arms that flows both directions across the U.S./Mexico borders.
“We’ve also been enjoying an unprecedented cooperation with Mexican law enforcement in recent years,” Mack explained. “So we get a lot of information from the Mexicans, and vice versa.”
Detailed information provided by ICE said in the last four years there have been more than 75 tunnels discovered by law enforcement agencies. Some of the tunnels were complete while others were only partially finished. A similar tunnel was found in San Diego in January 2006 that also linked the two countries through a warehouse and included sophisticated lighting and ventilation systems.
© Copyrighted 2010 Kimberly Dvorak all rights reserved
Tea Party activist, Michael Erickson was successful in moving his illegal immigration enforcement idea to the signature collection process. The California ballot initiative called “Support Federal Immigration Law Act” which closely mirrors Arizona’s SB1070 immigration law would require law enforcement officers to check suspected illegal aliens for immigration status.
According to the bill’s author, the proposed-immigration law will expand police officers ability enforce immigration laws when they have a reasonable suspicion that a person is undocumented and/or committing other crimes.
The proposed law would also make it a crime for illegal aliens to seek employment while concealing their illegal resident status.
While most complain the illegal aliens are protected from the enforcement of federal immigration laws, Erickson says his law would also target employers who “intentionally or negligently” hire illegal immigrants.
This issue recently played out in the California Gubernatorial race when Republican Meg Whitman, who went through legal channels and hired an employment service, found out years later her housekeeper was in the country illegally. The housekeeper, Nicky Diaz-Santillan, lied as well as forged counterfeit documents to con the employment agency and the Whitman family to procure employment.
The end result of this legal ruse was a Whitman loss and her household was forced to pay the illegal alien $5,500 for uncollected wages (she was making $23/per hour). Ironically the illegal alien has yet to face any criminal charges for fraud, perjury and residing in the state illegally.
The “Support Federal Immigration Act” would allow legal residents to sue government agencies, law enforcement or cities who attempt to provide “sanctuary status” to known illegal aliens.
California Secretary of State, Debra Bowen cleared the last hurdle for the initiative to begin the signature collection process this week. Authors will now need to collect at least 433,971 signatures from California registered voters by April 21, 2011, in order to make the ballot for the 2012 elections.
Riding the recent Tea Party wave, Erickson hopes voters will speak at the voting booth during the 2012 election cycle. The initiative will rely on volunteers from the Tea Party network which delivered stunning results during the midterms and promises to make 2012 just as successful, to get the required signatures.
The success or failure of this strict immigration measure will test the will of Californians, many of whom are outraged by the unresolved budget crisis ($20 billion in the red). Yet the recent midterm elections saw a sweep for California Democrats and made the state somewhat of an anomaly as Republicans across the country were elected into power by historic proportions.
Learning from Arizona’s law, Erickson’s California proposal states that law enforcement must verify immigration status “in a timely manner at the scene of the stop or detainment” and has to get the information from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or other federal agencies in a position to provide legal status documentation.
Erickson explained he decided to introduce the immigration initiative in California before a decision is made by the 9th Circuit Court on Arizona’s SB1070 law because his supporters are worried about the possible spillover effects.
“Our concern is with the possibility, if not probability, of an increase in not only illegal immigration in California but with a drug infestation, in part because Arizona is cracking down in their state,” Erickson explained.
However, open-border/amnesty organizers are well-funded with the support of La Raza, and will aggressively thwart any tough illegal immigration measure that finds its way on the 2012 election ballot.
One group from Los Angeles, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles said they did not believe Californians would support any tough illegal immigration plan. Angelica Salas, executive director of the organization said Californians have voted down many similar bills during the past 10 years, most have failed to even make the election ballot.
“What we saw on Nov. 2, those candidates who dabble with racism, xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiments and policies, lose badly in statewide elections,” Salas finished.
With state of California in the middle of the seemingly endless financial crisis, Erickson hopes to change the minds of the voters; otherwise it is a real possibility that California will be the first failed state.
© Copyrighted 2010 Kimberly Dvorak all rights reserved
As Americans head into the busiest holiday travel season of the year, they can take comfort in the fact that TSA, CBP and DHS are assuring their fellow passengers are sufficiently groped, poked and prodded. Meanwhile unbeknownst to them hundreds of FedEx/UPS type cargo packages are placed in the belly of airplanes with little-to-no security scrutiny.
Yes, shipping companies routinely use commercial flights to get their packages from point A to B and according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) sources they rarely look at the suspect cargo, many of which are inbound to America via the Middle East.
One CBP agent who spoke on anonymity for fear of workplace retaliation said, “I’ve seen hundreds of suspicious packages from the Middle East come into the country with little information or any recourse to find the original sender. They can ship any type of contraband they want with little chance of getting caught.”
The agent goes on to explain shipping on commercial planes is big business for the airlines and companies like FedEx and UPS are privileged customers. Oftentimes when cargo inspectors request an examination of a suspect package, they are told express delivery personnel have already taken the parcels in order to ensure an on-time delivery.
The conformation that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) doesn’t screen all air cargo comes from Janet Napolitano who oversees America’s security.
“Ordering 100 percent screening for air cargo is an easy thing to say, but it’s probably not the best way to go,” Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “Cargo is infinitely more complicated and comes in infinitely more shapes and sizes than passengers.” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-19/u-s-screening-all-airline-cargo-not-feasible-napolitano-says.html
Napolitano also contends that extending laws to cover all cargo would “require some hundreds of treaties to be negotiated so that foreign governments would allow the screening. We (currently) have one consistent security regime in the aviation environment for the United States,” she told Bloomberg.
It would appear that “regime” is the correct word choice as airline passengers have been groped, fondled and even arrested for refusing to complete the intrusive security process that has expanded to every major airport in the nation.
Both TSA and DHS refused to answer any questions regarding the airplane cargo red herring.
Recent arrestee, Sam Wolanyk of San Diego, was arrested when he refused a TSA pat down and opted to remove his pants and shirt to show TSA he wasn’t hiding any illegal contraband. “While I was arrested for refusing to be groped by TSA, a terrorist can spend 20 bucks and ship a bomb using FedEx without proper screening. It’s ludicrous,” he said.
Indeed the logic behind TSA’s excessive body searches seems overly aggressive if the cargo aboard planes can go unchecked.
CBP agents see the security risks everyday; however they are thwarted by managers and told its business as usual.
“I tried to target FedEx packages for inspection but they would be delivered before I could get field officers to see what was in them. The majority of parcels just fly out of the ports of entry upon arrival. There is so much security and intel lost, but money talks and Political Action Committees (PACs) call Congressmen, Congressmen call DHS Managers and packages are released without scrutiny, it’s all about money,” a CBP Agent explained.
The reason for this increased physical intrusion of passengers stems from the recent printer cartridges that were discovered on board commercial airliners bound for the United States as well as the Christmas Day underwear bomber.
A Yemen-based al Qaeda network has now reported their new strategy regarding their quest to eliminate Americans is to force them to go broke.
The strategy involves several smaller attacks in an effort to hurt the U.S. economy and to create a security phobia that blankets the entire country. Al Qaeda dubbed the new mission “Operation Hemorrhage” and hoped to weaken America’s economy by adding security costs to the country’s budget.
According to the CBP agent there’s no proactive operations to detect future events, it’s just a media “dog and pony show” and more “knee jerk reactions.”
“DHS Officials look like a ‘deer in the headlights’ whenever I see them on TV after another attempted terror attack. The real problem will start when these terror plots become administered by talented radicals hell bent on hurting the U.S. – at the moment we have inept emotionally disturbed losers trying to attack America.”
Another area law enforcement agencies will need to explore is the “practice makes perfect” terrorist who will continue to skirt homeland security in search of weak regulations.
“When we have more terrorists surviving they are more likely to strike again. It’s when these non- suicide missions start that we are going to start paying a heavy, heavy price. Meanwhile, federal officers like myself working out in the field are forced to clam up, or lose our jobs and our ability to provide for our families, while federal bureaucrats who run DHS and CBP continue to mismanage our national security,” he finished.
Customs and Border Protection’s explanation
According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website an “officer’s border search authority is derived from federal statutes and regulations, including 19 C.F.R. 162.6, which states that, ‘All persons, baggage and merchandise arriving in the Customs territory of the United States from places outside thereof are liable to inspection by a CBP officer.’ Unless exempt by diplomatic status, all persons entering the United States, including U.S. citizens, are subject to examination and search by CBP officers.”
DHS ensures that CBP inspection procedures are designed to facilitate the entry of U.S. citizens and aliens who can readily establish their admissibility. Unfortunately, this process may inconvenience law-abiding citizens in order to detect those involved in illicit activities. “We are especially aware of how inconvenient and stressful the inspection process may be to those selected for inspection. In such cases we rely heavily on the patience, understanding, and cooperation of the traveler,” the CBP website stated.
Meanwhile, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) announced more stringent security standards for global air cargo last week, including “more extensive screening of cargo, mail and other goods prior to placing them onboard an aircraft.”
The Middle East connection
In an attempt to work with the United States after the most recent thwarted terrorist attempts, countries like Yemen have opted to cooperate with developed nations to improve security measures in their country.
“We are working closely with international partners – including the U.S. – on the incident,” Mohammed Albasha told the Christan Science Monitor (CSM), adding that no UPS cargo planes land or take off from Yemeni airports. http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/1029/Suspicious-UPS-FedEx-packages-raise-new-concerns-about-Al-Qaeda-in-Yemen
However CSM reported that an airport employee in Sanaa, Yemen, who remained anonymous, established that there are private airline flights from Sanaa to the United Kingdom that may leave a gapping hole in international security.
“The UPS store in Sanaa was staffed with one employee and one guard Friday evening and the employee refused to talk to the media,” CSM reported.
Border Security expert Andy Ramirez has testified to Congress on a number of occasions and admits the cargo issue has been around forever. “I was told unless the host government gives permission to search cargo, nothing can be checked. We have the technology and equipment overseas but if hosts nix it, it’s purely worthless and I hear many countries do refuse permission. My sources are customs cargo inspectors and I have information addressing this very issue on my website, AndyRamirez.com. In my report “Unjustifiable & Impeachable,” which outlines a live ordinance (missiles) with launchers as well as bombs that were never inspected when they entered the U.S. The cargo was later traced and found in Arkansas even though it should have been inspected in Houston, which was the reported final destination,” Ramirez said.
Expect the security to continue
Airport security hoopla shows no signs of waning as Napolitano and the TSA Administrator John S. Pistole have released statements, ensuring the aggressive security tactics will remain in place through the holiday season.
“We welcome feedback and comments on the screening procedures from the traveling public, and we will work to make them as minimally invasive as possible while still providing the security that the American people want and deserve. We are constantly evaluating and adapting our security measures, and as we have said from the beginning, we are seeking to strike the right balance between privacy and security. In all such security programs, especially those that are applied nation-wide, there is a continual process of refinement and adjustment to ensure that best practices are applied and that feedback and comment from the traveling public is taken into account. This has always been viewed as an evolving program that will be adapted as conditions warrant, and we greatly appreciate the cooperation and understanding of the American people,” TSA’s statement read.
The Sunday news shows also reported on the heavy handedness of the TSA and said the stepped-up security is a direct result of the Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, or the Christmas Day bomber. While America may have had an efficient system, television commentators concluded the U.S. now has an inefficient system despite all the money and technology available to the country.
Cargo Security Clearances
“Pre-shipment inspections (PSI) are required when mandated by the government of the importing country. Governments assert that pre-shipment inspections ensure that the price charged by the exporter reflects the true value of the goods, prevent substandard goods from entering their country, and mitigate attempts to avoid the payment of customs duties,” according to export.gov.
Even the wealthy country of Dubai sees the need to ramp-up security for all aspects of air travel. They have setup hi-tech equipment to clear cargo quickly and effectively. Salma Hareb, Chief Executive Officer, Economic Zones World, and Chairman of the Board, Dubai Logistics Corridor said their ambitious program creates the regions largest and best logistics hub in the Middle East.
At a FedEx hub, international shipments are sorted, scanned and loaded onto international flights. However, most foreign countries do not have access to a FedEx hub.
Nevertheless at FedEx overseas hubs “vital shipment information is keyed into a worldwide manifest database that is linked to computer systems operated by brokers and Customs officials in many countries. Even before the plane has taken off, or while it is in the air, Customs agents and brokers at the destination airport of entry can begin examining shipping manifests, query air waybill data if they need more details, assess duties and taxes, and select which shipments they wish to examine. By the time the plane arrives at its destination, many packages have already been cleared by Customs,” according to the FedEx website.
New legislation could offer a solution
The printer cartridge terror attempts lead a Democrat Congressman to push for more thorough screening of all cargo entering the United States.
“Al Qaeda continues to put aviation at the top of its terrorist target list, and our nation must close the cargo loophole that continues to put lives and our economy at risk. While we now require screening of 100 percent of air cargo transported on passenger planes, the thwarted Yemen bombing plot demonstrates that Al Qaeda is turning its attention to less protected all-cargo aircraft. Accordingly, we must respond through strengthened security measures,” Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) said.
“On September 11, 2001, al Qaeda used box cutters; today, they are using boxes on all-cargo planes. We ignore this warning at our great peril,” Markey concluded.
While there may be many ways to address the cargo and passenger-related security process, for now it appears that the terrorists have won. Americans are furious when they witness, young children, senior citizens and seemingly innocent nuns being aggressively searched and DHS basically says “deal with it.”
A seasoned Border Patrol Agent just returned from a trip to Africa and explained the rest of the Westernized countries are not over reacting.
“I just returned from Africa via Amsterdam and didn’t experience any extensive pat down or x-ray screening. The folks from the ‘duty free’ shop have the run of the concourse gates. They deliver the stuff and I saw no x-ray being done of the packages. They deliver the duty free items fully wrapped, enclosed in duty free logo bags. They are delivered to the bursar at the jet-way ramp. I sure didn’t observe any x-ray capability along the jet way and I sure looked for it,” said the 30 year Border Patrol veteran.
Airline passengers can expect big delays at the airline terminals this week as well as read about TSA agents overstepping their boundaries on unsuspecting travelers, but will the flights really be as safe as they could be?
If TSA and DHS refuse to screen all the cargo placed in the belly of commercial airliners, then all the aggressive passenger searches will be for naught, as a ticking explosion from the planes underbelly will render TSA security checks moot.
To help Sam with his legal defense; samwolanyk.com
In what can only be described as TSA handlers gone wild, the San Diego Harbor Police arrested an area resident for refusal to complete the screening/security process yesterday. This is the same airport that created the TSA security catch phrase “don’t touch my junk.” John Kliner of San Diego started the airport screening firestorm last week as Americans head into the busiest travel week of the year in the United States.
This time the defendant, Sam Wolanyk says he was asked to pass through the 3-D x-ray machine. When Wolanyk refused, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) personnel told him he would have to be patted down before he could pass through and board his airplane.
Wolanyk said he knew what was coming and took off his pants and shirt, leaving him in Calvin Klein bike undergarments.
“It was obvious that my underwear left nothing to the imagination,” he explained. “But that wasn’t enough for the TSA supervisor who was called to the scene and asked me to put my clothes on so I could be properly patted down.”
It was clear to Wolanyk that TSA only wanted him to submit to a pat-down and if they were interested in ensuring the safety of all passengers they would have rifled through his clothes, carryon baggage and acknowledged that he was not carrying any illegal paraphernalia on his person.
Once Harbor Police arrested Wolanyk, he was handcuffed and paraded through two separate airport terminals in his underwear to the Harbor Police office located inside a different terminal at the airport than Wolanyk had originally gone through during his TSA security process.
The incident was confirmed by Harbor Police Sergeant Rakos who said Wolanyk was arrested on two misdemeanors, “failing to complete the security process; violation code 7.01 and illegally recording the San Diego Airport Authority (they confiscated his iPhone); violation number 714 (2).”
Another confirmation came from Ronald Powell, director of communications, who said Wolanyk wasn’t charged with any federal crimes, just the two misdemeanors. “The bottom line is that all our police officers did was enforce the law.”
Powell also stated that there was another arrest of a woman who was allegedly illegally filming the x-ray, and TSA screening process with a video camera. The young woman’s camera was confiscated and she was given a citation and released from Harbor Police custody.
TSA headquarters has told would-be airline travelers who enter an airport checkpoint process and refuse to undergo the method of inspection designated by TSA they will not be allowed to fly and can face possible charges for disrupting the airport security process.
Wolanyk will appear in court on January 7, 2011 to dispute the charges with Jason Davis of Davis and Associates of Orange County by his side.
A hearing in a lawsuit filed against the County of San Diego and Sheriff William Gore claiming that the county picks and chooses who may obtain a conceal gun permit took place in the Federal District Court in San Diego this past week. The case has now passed another hurdle in federal court and the plaintiffs and supporters of Second Amendment rights will now wait the three-to-four weeks for a written decision by Senior Federal Judge Erma Gonzalez.
The crux of the case centers on the “shall issue” versus the “may issue” status that the state of California doesn’t adhere to equally throughout the state’s 58 counties. The lead plaintiff Edward Peruta argues he has been wrongfully declined a Conceal Carry Weapon (CCW) permit, even though he has permits to carry a openly and concealed firearm issued by three other states together with letters of recommendations and other information either submitted with his application or available to anyone doing a standard CCW investigation.
The plaintiffs contend the Sheriff’s Department finds favor with prominent wealthy elite residents as well as those who belong to the Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association, an organization that funds many praiseworthy projects and equipment purchases for the Sheriff Department which may not otherwise be available due to current budget restrictions.
“Every resident, taxpayer and voter of San Diego County should be outraged that the Sheriff offers the right to bear arms for “SELF DEFENSE” to the prominent, wealthy and/or well connected while refusing the same right to the average everyday hard-working law abiding residents of San Diego County,” Peruta said.
At the hearing held Monday in Federal Court, San Diego Attorney Paul Neuharth together with the Los Angeles County firm of Attorney Chuck Michel threw words out like “licensing schemes” and “preferential treatment” as to how the County of San Diego conducts business with regards to the CCW application process.
While the county contends they grant the majority of the CCW applications they receive, what they didn’t tell the court is the Sheriff’s office initially and informally tells possible applicants, after a few minutes of office review, that they don’t qualify and if they continue forward they will lose any application funds paid and have a negative record on their Department of Justice file.
The lawsuit against the county was filed in October of 2009 after they repeatedly road-blocked Peruta’s CCW application and he felt he had no other recourse but to sue the county to protect his and other resident’s rights to carry concealed loaded firearms under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.
“Honesty, fairness and full disclosure during the CCW application process could have saved the county a great deal of time and yet to be determined tax dollars,” Peruta said.
And the case if decided in the Plaintiff’s favor will indeed cost the already broke County of San Diego. This federal case will have one of two outcomes; either the CCW licensing process will be dramatically loosened or the county will win and continue their current policies. In light of the second event, Peruta, with the help of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the California Rifle and Pistol Association will take the case to the 9th circuit court where the ramifications will have far more reach than the state of California.
For those who don’t think gun rights enthusiasts are going to win in liberal California, two recent landmark gun cases prove otherwise. First the Heller case (decided by the Supreme Court in 2008) gave residents in a federal enclave the right to “keep and bear arms;” and the McDonald case (decided by the Supreme Court in June of this year) extended the Second Amendment to the states to ensured that citizens were allowed to “keep and bear arms” without the individual states placing burdensome restrictions on the Second Amendment provision to own a firearm.
The heart of the McDonald case centered around a citizens’ right to own a firearm even when their life is not faced with an eminent threat, but to have the ability to protect themselves if or when a threat occurs.
In the Peruta case, attorneys for the plaintiffs argue that the county’s “good cause” process is “too burdensome” because it requires residents to provide a law enforcement or court document, like a police report or restraining order, in order to prove their life is in danger.
This paper disclaimer was ruled out by the judges in the McDonald/Heller cases where they proclaimed it is a fundamental human right for citizens to have means for immediate self defense in the event of a confrontation.
The CCW federal lawsuit participants openly admit they are not seeking the banishment of the application process contained in the California Penal Code and realize the Constitution can require “hoops to jump through,” but it is the government’s burden to show proof that a resident is not fit to carry and own a firearm and apply the policy evenly to all applicants.
During the two-hour hearing before Federal Judge Gonzalez arguments and responses to questions from the bench were made after Judge Gonzalez peppered them with what appeared to be well reasoned questions about the issues before the court. At the midway point in the hearing Judge Gonzalez made it a point to ask the plaintiffs exactly what they were seeking in the case.
The plaintiff’s replied that San Diego County policy must accept the desire of self defense, without prejudice, without the need to explain or document any pending threats. This means equal protection must be granted under the 2nd and 14th Amendments to all applicants and not just a chosen few.
“The evidence obtained in the Federal Lawsuit clearly shows the San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept. has an established policy of separating its residents into two distinct groups, those that can and those that cannot carry firearms for self defense,” Peruta explained.
Once the plaintiff’s attorney addressed the court it was the county’s turn to speak.
The county’s case centered on the Heller case and went on to imply that the Heller decision only established a right to “keep and bear arms” inside the home. Attorney James Chapin the sole attorney presenting the county’s case at the hearing told the court that neither of the Supreme Court decisions in McDonald or Heller rulings provided and right to carry a firearm outside the home and went on to say that the decisions stated that the right to own a firearm is not unlimited.
He continued to argue that this case could make it far too easy for unsavory elements to obtain CCW’s and use that right to commit more crime. “Good cause has to mean something,” Chapin said.
The county also pointed to the fact it was always better for a person to contact law enforcement and let law enforcement deal with an impending threat.
While it may be true that law enforcement responds to calls for assistance, most cops on the beat openly say they cannot always respond in time to prevent crimes from occurring. In the real world it is a hard argument to win. It’s like asking a criminal to wait a few minutes for law enforcement to arrive before they commit their crime or inflict their intended harm on the unarmed victim. It doesn’t work like that in the real world.
Another flawed statement to the court, county counsel presented as fact that California already has “open carry” laws on the books which allows any citizen in good standing, to carry a firearm openly as long as it is not loaded. Chapin when on to further tell Judge Gonzalez that individuals in California are also able to wear unloaded firearms holstered on their hip and keep the ammunition somewhere else, like a pocket (which is a criminal offense under provisions of California law).
He then went on to tell the judge, with a straight face, that it only took three seconds to load a firearm.
It takes less than one second to take a life.
“Sheriff Gore and his staff’s first obligation should be to read, understand, abide by and uphold the law without regard to politics or emotion,” Peruta said. “The safety of my wife and family is just as important to me as it may be to the privileged members of the Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association.”
As closing arguments began Michel explained that “the right of self defense doesn’t end at the threshold of your home.”
He also said the county has been abusing its discretion by not granting CCW permits to worthy citizens.
This argument appeared to pique Judge Gonzalez interests. She also seemed interested and went as far as to question the fact that the 58 counties in California use different benchmarks for granting CCW permits.
The defense pleaded with the judge “not to strike the ‘good cause’ rule that has been law for 100 years in California.”
However, Michel provided the court with two important facts. “There are currently 37/38 states that are currently “shall issue” states. They also said they saw reductions in their violent crime rates, significant declines, because nobody wants to go duck hunting when five percent of the ducks can shoot back.”
The plaintiff’s asked the court to simply look at the firearm policy, and find that it should be applied fairly and keep political preference out of the right to “keep and bear arms.”
As the gavel fell, Judge Gonzalez acknowledged the legal significance of the case and said this precedent-setting 2nd Amendment case would have a written ruling in three-to-four weeks.
For those interested in the facts of this case, Mr. Peruta has published various facts at http://www.cagunrights.com.
Just when Americans thought it was okay to focus on the economy, jobs and the holiday season, members of the demolished Democrat party are seeking to pass the DREAM Act during the lame duck session.
In a nutshell the DREAM Act would grant millions of illegal immigrants in the country amnesty by offering them a college education or the option to join the military as a means to join the legal immigration ranks.
Congressional Leaders met with President Obama at the White House to renew their push for the controversial legislation to be on the House floor during the lame duck session. Lawmakers are hoping to get at least one political win after the disastrous midterm elections and show the country they still have plenty of clout in Washington D.C.
“We had a very healthy, vigorous conversation and we reached this wonderful harmony,” said Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.). “We have an opportunity to help two million young men and women in this country join the armed forces, go to college.”
Gutierrez described the DREAM Act as a compassionate piece of legislation that would go a long way to iron the divisive issue for American citizens.
Democrats feel that if they wait for a comprehensive immigration reform, many Latinos will lose faith in the party and look for other leaders in their quest for amnesty. “We should not jeopardize this opportunity,” Gutierrez finished.
After the Oval Office meeting Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) said the leaders discussed many options and were optimistic about passage of the DREAM Act legislation.
A statement from the White House said, “The president and the (lawmakers) believe that, before adjourning, Congress should approve the Dream Act.”
However, that optimism gives anti-amnesty legislation organizations something to fight for during the possible lame duck vote.
One such group is Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and they are counting on their supporters to step up to the challenge and stop lawmakers from passing the DREAM Act into law.
“The DREAM Act rewards those who broke U.S. immigration laws and only encourages more illegal immigration… The DREAM Act unfairly allows illegal alien students to tap federal and state benefits, when those benefits are desperately needed by Americans who are struggling every day to make ends meet,” FAIR said in an email statement.
At issue with anti-illegal activists is granting a free pass and tax breaks for illegal aliens, especially at a time when the economy cannot break free from a stubborn recession.
“It (DREAM Act) grants illegal aliens ‘conditional’ permanent resident status upon the receipt of a high school diploma, or simply enrolling in a college program or the military grants aliens normal LPR status (green cards) upon finishing two years of college or service in the military—requirements the Obama Administration can waive. It also authorizes states to give illegal aliens in-state tuition so that your tax dollars will openly be subsidizing illegal immigration; and it makes newly amnestied aliens eligible for numerous taxpayer-funded student loan programs,” FAIR contends.
Just like the movie Friday the 13th and its endless sequels, the DREAM act seems to be one of those pieces of legislation that is taken off the shelf, dusted off and put in front of lawmakers when pandering to Latinos reaches a boiling point.